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Half-a-Dozen Exotic Island Destinations for your next trip

When it comes to holidaying in exotic places, particularly island destinations, the options available to you are unlimited. Yet, you will always look to get the best value for money on your holiday. Often, costs and time involved do get in the way of what should otherwise be a most enjoyable holiday. This leads you to sacrificing on the quality of the accommodation, or at other times, on the food and the sights that can be visited. This can leave you disappointed.

However, an exotic holiday is totally within your reach! Not only are they competitively priced, but they also give you enough value for the money that you spend. That's why you need to choose your destinations wisely, in order to avail the best that your money can buy, while at the same time saving enough for your next, exotic trip.

Given below is a list of 06 exotic island holiday destinations which you could enjoy at the best possible price, with all the fun and frolic involved:

1. Ambergris Cayes, Belize

This is the largest island in the country of Belize, an island nation in the Western Caribbean. It is thought to be so named after the chunks of ambergris that were washed up onto the shores of this island. It was first settled by the Mayans, whose distinctive red ceramic pottery can still be seen on the island today.

The island is situated at the northeast of Belize, and is approximately 40 kms from north to south and is 1.5 kms wide. The only town on this island is San Pedro, which has since the 1970s, emerged   as a major tourist destination. There are two amazing resorts located north of San Pedro, namely Mata Chica and Captain Morgan's, both of which are famous for being the hosts of Season 1 of the series “Temptation Island” aired on Fox. The other attractions of Ambergris Cayes are the Belize Barrier Reef and it's beaches, which is the second largest in the world after the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Tourists will never run out of things to do in Ambergris Cayes, with scuba diving, snorkelling, reef fishing and other water sports available throughout the year, and skydiving available in winter.

Ambergris Cayes may be reached by air from Belize City (Maya Island Air and Tropic Air). It can also be reached by ferry from Chetumal, Mexico and from Corozal Town, Belize. The principal mode of transport on the island is the golf cart, owing to the small size of the island.

2. Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands

It is famous all over as the major urban attraction of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and is more popularly known as “Provo”. Providenciales is located on the western part of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and spans an area of 38 square miles. You would enjoy your time at Providenciales, given it's fantastic array of shopping malls, casinos, bars, marinas and an 18-hole golf course. In addition there are a whole host of water-sports options available to you, such as diving. You will have the dual advantage of enjoying world-class modern amenities, while at the same time making the most of an exotic island locale.

The star attractions of Providenciales are its pristine beaches. The best-known of these beaches is located on Grace Bay and stretches for 12 miles, being surrounded by a healthy barrier reef. On the south side of the island is located the Caicos Bank. This is a beautiful area with lovely, turquoise water and pale-white sand, ideal for your exotic honeymoon. Don't miss the “Hole” located at Long Bay. This is a deep limestone chimney, below which lies unknown depths of salt-water. Provo is also the only known conch-shell farm in the world, and this is accessible during the winter months.
The historically inclined must catch a glimpse of the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Plantation ruins. On a hill overlooking Sapodilla bay, you will find stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors.

3. Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia (France)

With a population of approximately 8,800, Bora Bora should definitely be ranked high on your itinerary if a good mix of culture, history, art and of course, scenic beauty is high on your agenda. A part of the Leeward group of islands, located within the overseas department of French Polynesia, Bora Bora is known all over the world because of its aqua-centric ambience and tourist attractions. It is situated 230 kms north of the national capital, Papetee.

The luxury spas and resorts are surrounded by beautiful pearly, white sand all around. The water is a lovely emerald green, with a plethora of multi-coloured fish swimming in them. The mountains are covered with beautiful blossoms, and the sun illuminates and enhances this spectacle. This is the ideal destination for the hopeless romantic! Bora Bora takes its name from the Polynesian word for “first born”, as it is believed that this was the first island to have been fished out by the Polynesian god Taaroa.

In addition to being pampered at the numerous luxury spas and resorts at Bora Bora, you could also choose to indulge yourself in snorkelling, catamaran rafting, diving and jet skiing, among a host of other water sporting options available. The beauty of Bora Bora could also be explored on hiking tours which will be provided by local tour guides. Of course, one simply cannot leave Bora Bora without shopping for exquisite Polynesian art and handicrafts, perfumes, oils and wood carvings which are available to you at competitive prices.

Bora Bora can be reached by flight from either Tahiti or Moorea, both located within French Polynesian territory.

4. Marco Island, Florida, U.S.A

Also a city going by the same name, this is located in the Collier County of Florida. It is the largest barrier island of the Ten Thousand Island chain, located within the South-West Gulf of Mexico. It is a part of the Marco Island Naples-Metropolitan Statistic Area.

Marco Island is well-known for having distinct wet seasons. It has awesome scenic beauty, with white sandy beaches and lovely water. You can enjoy yourself playing with dolphins or engage in sun and water sports on the beach. For the lovers of sea-food, you will be amazed at the variety on display, and the sheer taste and aroma is bound to knock your senses out! You will also be able to explore the fascinating wildlife in the Ten Thousand Islands, by going on either bus, boat or air tours of the wilderness.

5. Lewis & Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (U.K)

This is the largest island of the Scottish Hebrides, with an area of 841 square miles. It is also the second-largest islands in the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland. The northern side of the island is referred to as “Lewis” and the southern side “Harris”, even though they are located on the same land, they are referred to separately. Both the sides are separated by the Loch resort.

What is unique about Lewis & Harris is that you wouldn't find on tropical islands? For those of you who have had your fill of emerald waters and coconut trees, you will truly be amazed at the different, more Atlantic topography of the island. The beaches are lovely, typically Scottish, with some ancient rocks dating back nearly three thousand million years. Also, the islands are of historical importance, being the ancestral homes of some important clans such as the McCleods. The peace and calm of the island is unmatched, and this is further complemented by the lovely, old-world charm of its quaint villages that dot the landscape. These mountain villages are a visual treat with their charming setting, and of course, more importantly, the warmth of it's people.

6. Naxos, Cyclades, Greece

Naxos is a stunningly beautiful Greek island, and is the largest one in the Cycaldes chain of islands, located within the Aegean. It has a panoramic Mediterranean coastline, rolling hills and beautiful beaches. 

Encompassing an area of 429 square kilometres, it was reputed to be the nucleus of the ancient culture of Cyclades. When you are in Naxos, literally, the sky is the limit to the things that you can do. The historically and artistically inclined among you will have your fair share of excitement in the numerous places of historical interest that abound in Naxos. Those looking for a getaway and to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, will truly relish the numerous villages and village walkways that abound in Naxos, which offer a quaint, mountain-village setting to relax and recharge your batteries. Or take a quiet hike in any of the mountains to refresh yourselves. And for the sporty types, the options are amazing. Mountain biking, cycling for the landlubbers and jet-skiing, diving, snorkelling, yachting and wind-surfing for the fish among you! In fact, Naxos is slowly turning into a wind-surfer's paradise.

Reaching Naxos is easy. There are about 1 or 2 flights available daily from Athens International Airport. There are also frequent Highspeed Catamaran services available from Piraeus to Naxos, which should take between 5-6 hours to complete. Transportation in and around Naxos is also very convenient, with a wide variety of car rental and bus services available to you.

Whether it's the sands and the surf, or a quiet relaxation or an island's history that fascinates you, you can be sure that there is something for everyone when it comes to exotic island destinations. And as you've just seen, these destinations need not be over the top when it comes to pricing, and can be adjusted to suit almost all pockets. All you need is to plan ahead, choose your destination well and budget your finances accordingly to enjoy a memorable holiday!

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